NEW England MP Barnaby Joyce has rubbished suggestions the live sheep export industry should be shut down, a move which he says would be “disastrous”.
Mr Joyce said there was no argument the recent reports of inhuman conditions within the industry were “abhorrent and had to be dealt with” – however, closing it down was not the answer.
“The solution to the problem is not to stop it,” Mr Joyce said.
“The solution is to regulate it in such a way that these sort of things happen rarely and are punished swiftly. We manage problems by fixing them, not by closing them down.”
Mr Joyce’s Liberal colleague Sussan Ley, who holds the regional seat of Farrar, plans to introduce a private members’ bill to ban live sheep exports.
Ms Ley said she was shocked by reports 2400 sheep died due to heat stress on a voyage to the Middle East.
The Greens announced they would back Ms Ley’s bill, while Victoria Liberal MP Jason Wood has also called for an end to live exports.
When The Leader asked Mr Joyce if he would cross the floor to oppose Ms Ley’s proposal, he replied: “She’d be the one crossing the floor to lodge it”.
“I can’t see the Coalition supporting it,” he said.
“We saw what happened when the live cattle industry was shut down, it was an economic disaster that affected everyone.
“I’m sick of hearing people say the solution is to close something down when something bad happens.
“If that was the case, we would be closing down highways every time a car crashed, or closing down airports every time a plane was grounded.”
Mr Joyce pointed to the NSW government’s failed attempt to ban the greyhound racing, which showed banning an entire industry had many unintended consequences.
“I’ve been around the political game long enough to know you don’t react to your first emotion, you calmly sit back and think about it,” he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.